The All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State has, for the third time, petitioned the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice , Abubakar Malami (SAN), asking him to prosecute all indicted persons in the June 21, 2014 Ekiti State governorship election rigging scandal.
The party stated this in a petition entitled ‘‘Request for the prosecution of persons involved in conspiring and perpetrating acts of electoral fraud and malfeasance in the governorship election of June 21, 2014 in a manner other than that envisaged by the relevant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.’’
The party said the review of the matter had become imperative in national interest, to avoid a cycle of politicians that could seize the reins of government through treason.
According to the petition by the State Chairman of the APC, Olajide Awe, the party said its present petition arose from the recent confession by a former Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party in Ekiti State, Dr Tope Aluko, on wide-range underhand dealings in the governorship poll.
The party referred to the earlier two petitions dated February 13, 2015 and November 23, 2015 on the same subject matter.
Governor Ayodele Fayose of the PDP had defeated the then incumbent governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, in the 16 local government areas of the state, to emerge the winner of the election.
It said by the latest confession by one of the principal participants in the election heist, “we are compelled to write this reminder to draw your attention to the urgent need to address the matter to ensure justice in what has turned a blight on the nation’s practice of democracy through treasonable actions that denied the votes of Ekiti people.”
The party listed alleged infractions to the letter of the extant provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
According to Awe, the infractions include unusual militarisation before, during and after the election that created fears and heightened the level of insecurity of the electorate throughout Ekiti State.
The party demanded a comprehensive investigation of all events and actions that precipitated the alleged electoral fraud and prosecution of all alleged and culpable culprits, both individuals and institutions, including INEC, in the election fraud saga.
The APC chairman added that in the spirit of the change agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari and in view of the new anti-corruption crusade that frowned on allowing criminals to enjoy the fruits of their crimes, the matter must be addressed in a manner that would not allow criminals to go away with their crimes.
But the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Idowu Adelusi, said the petition was a futile exercise because the AGF had no such power to review the election.
“The issue concerning June 21, 2014 governorship election is a concluded matter which can never be revisited. The issue raised by Awe is an election matter conducted under stipulated time under the law because it is time bound.
“All parties have exhausted their rights at the tribunal, appeal court and Supreme Court under the law,” he said.
Meanwhile, Aluko has asked a Chief Magistrate’s Court in Ado Ekiti to vacate the warrant of arrest it issued against him.
Chief Magistrate Adesoji Adegboye had, on February 3, ordered the state Commissioner of Police, Etop James, to arrest and prosecute Aluko for alleged perjury.
He granted the order following a motion ex parte moved by the state Director of Public Prosecutions, Mr. Gbenga Adaramola.
Aluko had, in confessional statements made to the media, revealed how the PDP rigged the June 21, 2014 governorship election for Fayose.
He also claimed that former President Goodluck Jonathan gave Fayose N4.7bn cash to prosecute the election.
Addressing newsmen on Wednesday, principal counsel for Aluko, Niran Owoseeni and Wale Abimbola, described the warrant of arrest as a serious judicial error that needed to be reversed to preserve the integrity of the judiciary.
Owoseni said it was rather curious that the court could go ahead and issue the warrant when there was no valid and existing charge against Aluko.
According to him, the court must have been misled into making the order.
In the motion on notice brought pursuant to sections 77(iii) and 299 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Law of Ekiti State, 2014, Section 7 of Magistrate Court Law of Ekiti State, 2014 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court, Aluko sought an order vacating and or setting aside the arrest warrant.
Stating the grounds for seeking the orders, the applicant’s counsel, Owoseni, contended that the court lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the motion ex parte because it was defective and incompetent.
“That the application is an abuse of court process and that there is no prima facie case of perjury against him before the court to warrant the order sought and erroneously granted,” he added.
In a 12-paragraph affidavit filed in support, Ayo Daramola, a lawyer, averred that unless the honourable court set aside and or vacated the order, the claimant was prepared to execute the warrant of arrest against (Aluko) by all means possible.
“That unless the honourable court vacates/sets aside the order made in favour of the claimant, the liberty of the Defendant/Respondent will be further threatened as he now lives as a fugitive in his fatherland,’’ he said.